Lausanne, Jan 23: Pakistan was thrown out of the inaugural FIH Pro League Hockey after it pulled out of the first three matches of the tournament, the international federation said Wednesday. The International Hockey Federation (FIH) said that Pakistan informed the world body on Wednesday that it was no longer able to play the first three games planned against Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, citing "inevitable circumstances".
Therefore, the FIH has taken the decision to suspend Pakistan from the 2019 FIH Pro League in order not to jeopardize the regularity and the smooth delivery of the event, which kicked-off successfully last Saturday in Valencia, Spain. "It is regretful that Pakistan has decided only now to withdraw from the first games of the FIH Pro League. Consequently, FIH were left with no other option than suspending Pakistan from the rest of the competition's season," FIH CEO Thierry Weil said in a statement.
"At this stage, I would like to thank all participating National Associations who had adapted their schedules to support a solution for Pakistan to join the competition this year," it said. Pakistan hockey has been facing financial problems for some time now which has affected its team's participation in major tournaments. Pakistan was on the verge of pulling out of the recent World Cup in Bhubaneswar before a cricket franchise decided to sponsor the hockey team for the mega event in India last December.
The non-participation of Pakistan will have no impact on the competition format. The eight men's teams of the FIH Pro League will play each other on a home and away basis from January to June, the world body said. The tournament resumes on Friday with the men's game between Spain and Great Britain. The FIH Pro League is a brand-new competition and part of FIH's new event portfolio. It is a global home and away league involving many of the world's leading hockey nations, men and women, for a six-month period.
India is also not a part of the tournament due to a different reason.
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